Apple’s flagship show on its new streaming service Apple TV+, The Morning Show, is not a true story in the vein of The Crown or select episodes of Law & Order: SVU. Let’s dig deep into Who Is Bradley Jackson Based On?
However, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell’s drama is based, at least in part, on NBC’s The Today Show. From the very first moments of the pilot, it is evident that the story is inspired by the #MeToo controversy that has rocked that network since 2017.
It might be difficult to tell how much of the play is based on actual events and how much is made up for dramatic effect.
Journalist Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, published in 2012, served as inspiration for The Morning Show. The book details the fierce competition between NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s This Morning behind the scenes.
(Stelter has been brought on as a consultant for the show’s production.) Those who have dedicated morning TV viewers in 2012 may recall the moment when NBC decided that co-hosts Matt Lauer and Ann Curry did not have chemistry and abruptly fired Curry from the Today show.
Sobbing, she cried. Many Americans, angry at Lauer, her, and the network, quickly flipped to Good Morning America. The takeaway: back in the day, audiences preferred to be greeted by a couple they could picture as America’s parents.
At the very least, the shows were as much, if not more, about the rapport between the hosts as they were about the news. Let’s dig deep into Who Is Bradley Jackson Based On?
Who Is Bradley Jackson Based On?
In multiple interviews, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell have insisted that neither of their Morning Show characters is based on real people.
Nonetheless, parallels can be drawn between their characters and those of Matt Lauer, who was fired from the Today show in 2017 following sexual misconduct allegations, and Savannah Guthrie, who has served as his co-host ever since.
(Lauer issued an apology for his behavior in a statement read on Today at the time, but he claimed that not all of the charges were true.)
After watching Apple TV+'s #TheMorningShow 3 eps in, I've come to the realization that Reese Witherspoon's Bradley Jackson is all of us. None of us are in control of our destinies. It's usually manipulated by random circumstances and consensus. Some for good and some for bad. pic.twitter.com/MOpiL5PubK
— Jack Rico (@JackRicofficial) October 30, 2019
Truth be told, the new Apple series sticks to a nearly identical formula: Alex Levy (Aniston) has worked with her co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Carell) for 15 years, but he finds out in the wee hours of the morning that he has been dismissed following a sexual misconduct inquiry.
Like Guthrie did with Lauer, she breaks the news of his dismissal live on air and is left trying to keep the show together. Bradley Jackson, a fierce local news journalist played by Reese Witherspoon, is the only one who doesn’t fit into this story.
She is a free spirit who, as she puts it in the trailer, doesn’t “fit the mold of a morning anchor” or “any mold.”
Bradley, unlike Alex and Mitch, doesn’t appear to have a clear analog in the actual world. Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) sees Bradley as the perfect destabilizer and uses her to help push Alex out of the network so that he can bring in new, younger blood.
Star and executive producer Reese Witherspoon, though, claims there is no competition.
Actress Reese Witherspoon Claims She Has Nothing In Common With Character Bradley Jackson
Witherspoon discussed her thoughts about Bradley Season 2 during an interview for the December 2021 cover of InStyle magazine. The 45-year-old actress said she enjoys playing Bradley on screen, despite the fact that she isn’t someone she personally likes.
Witherspoon told Gayle King, “It was amazing to play this girl who was so pleased to be invited to the party.” In Season 2, she becomes spoiled and a brat who advocates for herself (albeit not always professionally).
“I enjoyed the opportunity to portray someone so different from myself. I can play well with others, but that’s not Bradley,” she clarified. When asked if she’s the polar opposite of her personality at the workplace, the mother of three children responded, “absolutely.”
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